In July of 2015, CrossFit CEO and Founder Greg Glassman fixed his sights on the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN). In less that 140 characters he accurately identified the organization for the soda-funded marketing tool that it was.
His observation soon made headlines, and Coke was quickly scrambling to explain its large-scale funding of health professionals and organizations. On the 30th of November, Russ Greene published an article covering the damning internal emails between GEBN and Coke officials. He wrote, “[T]he GEBN’s only hope now is to come clean and apologize for misleading the public.” Perhaps realizing what this would do to the careers of those involved, the GEBN has taken a different strategy: Fold.
A few hours later, the GEBN website published the following statement:
“Effective immediately, GEBN is discontinuing operations due to resource limitations. We appreciate the commitment to energy balance that the membership has demonstrated since our inception, and encourage members to continue pursuing the mission ‘to connect and engage multi-disciplinary scientists and other experts around the globe dedicated to applying and advancing the science of energy balance to achieve healthier living’.”
It seems that without Coca-Cola money, GEBN was dead in the water. The story has quickly spread through the mainstream media, but current reports lack clarity on a single issue: the involvement of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Despite the ACSM’s public attempt to distance itself from the GEBN, their relationship has not gone unnoticed to CrossFit. In previous articles, we have exposed the detailed relationships between the two organizations. GEBN Co-founder Steven Blair is a former ACSM president and co-founders Gregory A. Hand and James O. Hill both presented alongside Steven Blair in a symposium titled “The Science of Energy Balance: A Model for Weight Management Intervention” during the 2014 ACSM annual meeting (over six months before the GEBN was formed).
Our Next Target: The ACSM’s “Exercise is Medicine”
Now that the GEBN is dead, we need to turn our attention to its counterpart: “Exercise is Medicine.” Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is an ACSM initiative that aims to build “partnership between healthcare leaders and community stakeholders building a ‘bridge of trust’ for the coordinated care of at-risk population groups.”
EIM is funded by Coca-Cola, who is presumably one of the “community stakeholders” refered to above. Coca-Cola has also identified Robert Sallis, the chairman of EIM and former ACSM president, as a recipient of Coke funding.
Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness (likened to a “Jack Daniel’s School for Safe Driving” by Greg Glassman) even offers a free Exercise is Medicine webinar presented by Sallis. Not surprisingly, the presentation identifies “physical inactivity” (not sugar consumption) as “THE major health problem for our time.” Note that this is the same position taken by the now-defunct GEBN.
“Exercise is Medicine” represents the same ACSM leadership, the same perversion of health science, and the same Coca-Cola funding as the Global Energy Balance Network the ACSM has attempted to distance itself from. “Exercise is Medicine” is nothing but a soda-funded charade designed to confuse the public about the relationship between sugar consumption and chronic disease, and we are coming for them next.